Category Archives: adho mukha svanasana

Product Review: Using Medi-Dyne Prostretch for a Deep Calf Stretch

calf muscles

Are your heels so far off the floor that your Downward Dog is a Downward Don’t? Do you suffer with tight calves, hamstrings, or plantar fascitis?  If so, the Medi-Dyne Prostretch might be just the tool you need to improve your yoga practice.  As a recreational runner and yoga teacher, I’m personally aware that running can result in uncomfortably calves tight calves. Yet, I’m not willing to give up running for the benefit of my yoga practice.

Let’s take a minute for a brief anatomy review. There are 2 primary muscles in the calf, the gastrocnemius (a.k.a. gastroc) and the soleus. The gastroc, think rock, is the bulbous muscle superficial to the soleus, which lies under it. Both have a role in plantarflexion (pointed toe position) of the foot. Because the gastroc originates at the femur, it is the primary plantarflexor when the leg is straight. On the other hand, the soleus is primary when the leg is bent. This tells us that, in order to stretch both, we need to extend the calf in both bent leg and straight leg positions.

Medi-Dyne ProstretchSo, what’s a yogi to do?  While poses such as Downward Dog and Warrior I are effective for stretching the calf muscles, using the Prostretch is a more focused approach. First, it also allows for the calf to be stretched with a straight or bent leg. Second, with it’s rounded bottom, it allows for a rocker motion that simulates the foot motion which occurs during running. The stretch can be gradually deepened by rocking back so the heel sits lower than the ball of the foot. Finally, combining all that goodness with a v-shaped cradle, you’ll find it can release the fascia (connective-tissue) and achilles.

Every so often a product comes along that I want to tell the world about it. The Prostretch is one of those products. I use it every morning when brushing my teeth. I love the feeling of release and have fun rolling around on it. So, get yourself a Prostretch and the next time a yoga teacher says that Downward Dog is a restorative pose, it may actually feel that way to you.



Benefits of yoga inversions

Salamba SarvangasanaI went shopping last week to pick up some essentials for my house…tissues, toilet paper,…you get the idea.  Nothing very exciting, but I was at Costco where you never know what’s going to be around the next corner. As I was pushing my cart through the aisles, I came across an item I’ve been enamored with ever since I’ve been into yoga. I look at it from afar like someone might look at a pair of snazzy shoes or the latest electronic gadget. I know it’s not an essential, but I have an intangible certainty that it will improve my life.

A soundtrack is playing in my head. Coldplay’s ‘Rush of Blood To The Head’ followed by ‘God Put a Smile Upon Your Face’. What is this captivating find? It’s an inversion table. I want to be in it; I want that rush of blood and that smile. I want to be upside down.

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